Small flint nodule used as an amulet against teething pains, England, 1913

1913 in England

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A132464, Small flint module, used as amulet against teething, collected in South Devon, English 1913. A132465,
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Small flint module, used as amulet against teething, collected in South Devon, English 1913

The growing influence of biomedicine in the 1800s did not necessarily replace established forms of treatment based on belief and superstition. What could be referred to as folk medicine – customs that often went back generations – continued to be practised. For example, some believed that tooth shaped pieces of flint such as those in the background of this image could act as protective amulets against teething pains. It was hoped that the child’s pain would be transferred to the flint.

This amulet was a gift to the Wellcome collections in 1916 from Edward Lovett (1852-1933), a collector of British amulets and charms. It is pictured here with other teething amulets: a piece of turf (A132465), a necklace of woody nightshade (A132471), and a calf’s tooth (A665423).

Related people


Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
Lovett, E.R.
Loan: Wellcome Trust

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